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The American Blackbelly sheep is a hair sheep, originally developed by crossbreeding programs involving primarily Mouflon and Barbados Blackbelly. Resulting hybrids produced poor horn growth that interfered with the animal faces. Repeated back crossing on the Mouflon improved horn growth to the extent that the hybrid attracted the attention of trophy hunters. Eventually, a strain of exotic looking animals with massive horns evolved and came to be referred to as "Corsican" in reference to the origin of the Mouflon ancestors. The original cross has subsequently been developed into several distinctive breeds of hair sheep. The American Blackbelly is a breed of Corsican descent that is readily identifiable by a very well-defined coat pattern and is registered by the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International. Rams generally display spectacular horns, while ewes generally are polled (hornless.) The sheep sport a distinctive hair coat in a range of tan to brown to red, with dramatic black markings.
The American Blackbelly is a thrifty, energetic, small- to medium-sized sheep with a strong flocking instinct. American Blackbelly sheep will grow more or less winter wool, mostly in response to local winter conditions, which is entirely cast in spring/summer to reveal a coarse, flat hair coat with distinctive, antelope-like markings. It is never docked or sheared.
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